(Greece) – In Greece, credit card usage has been increasing while cash transactions have been declining. According to a study by the Research Institute for Retail Consumer Goods, or IELKA, Greeks are now relying on credit cards and debit cards to help them pay for things like food. Although this is causing prices to increase, the study did point out that using credit cards and debit cards does create a paper trail that will help the government crack down on tax evasion, which is something that is causing the Greek government to lose revenue. According to the Bank of Greece, 1 out of 2 consumers say they use credit cards more often than they used to.
Although cash had always been the preferred method to pay for items in Greece, that is now changing. Many shops who offer credit card transactions would often charge less for those paying with cash, simply because they would increase prices for credit card transactions to cover the processing fees. This idea is true not just with locals, who use cash as a way to help them find better prices at Greece’s open markets, but with tourists as well. Using cash, overall, helps keep costs down at the markets, particularly with food.
However, because of the country’s current financial crisis, the Greek people are starting to use credit cards more often. This has caused a general increase in prices throughout the country, especially with food. Many people think that a combination of low wages, pension cuts, unemployment 24% tax on food and other goods, and capital controls have all contributed to the fact that people are now turning to credit cards to help them meet their daily expenses. Greece has been in a recession since before the first bailout, which took place in 2010. The country currently accepted its third bailout deal since that time in order to help them pay off loan balances to the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.